Kahe villagers trek 10 km to draw water in Kenya

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By Arusha Times Correspondent

Trekking to a neighbouring country in search of scarce water may now be history for residents of Kahe village in Rombo district, Kilimanjaro region, thanks to a major water supply project.

Besides Kahe, the World Bank-funded scheme will also benefit nine other villages in the area, revealed the district water engineer Andrew Tesha when briefing stakeholders on implementation of the programme.

He said at least 7,000 Kahe villagers who were forced to travel for up to ten kilometres a day to draw water from Kenyan villages will benefit upon completion of the scheme whose timeframe he did not disclose.

According to him, the water supply project is being implemented by the Rombo district council under the rural water supply programme which is funded by the World Bank.

He added that within the extensive Kahe village, water would be distributed in seven hamlets and will be supplied through 33 collection points.

The entire project will cost some Sh. 500m. However, Eng. Tesha pleaded to the government to scrap taxes on the imported building materials to assure smooth implementation.

Speaking during the project briefing, the Kilimanjaro regional commissioner Leonidas Gama called on the district councils to learn water harvesting technologies being executed at Mgagao village in Mwanga district.

He said once the technology was embraced by the people of the entire region, the water supply problems would be tackled and there would be enough water even for irrigation schemes.

A resident of Kahe, Ms Bertha Shirima showered praise on the government for the project, saying they had been depending on Kenyan side for their daily supplies.

Recently it was reported that about 70 per cent of water produced by the Rombo-based Kilimanjaro Water Supply Company Limited (Kiliwater) is lost due to illegal connections, it has been learnt.

Water is also lost through leakages due to ageing of the pipe lines and associated structures, the Chairperson of the Water Consumers in Rombo district Theodory Silayo revealed during a meeting in Rombo.

He warned when he was presenting his report to the annual general meeting of the firm's shareholders that the company may fail to supply water with 70 per cent of the liquid lost before reaching consumers.

Kiliwater general manager Prosper Tesha said the situation has been aggravated by failure by public institutions to pay the outstanding water bills, currently amounting to about Sh. 25 million.

But in response to the blames directed to government bodies, the acting District Executive Director Mr. Modest Lyakurwa admitted that a large volume of water was lost and that it does not augur well for the company.

He called on Kiliwater management to collaborate with the village leaders to unmask people behind illegal connections of water which had not only led to loss of revenue but massive leakages.

The company was established in the late 1990s after a water project for Kilimanjaro East which was run by the German aid agency, GIZ came to an end in 1994.

According to the GM, Kiliwater caters for more than 300,000 customers in 78 villages in Rombo district and Mwika area in Moshi Rural.

Until recently, the estimated production was 40,000 cubic metres of water from 30 sources of water, 29 of which are gravitational and one a borehole.